|Photos courtesy of Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo™|
Saturday night, Kix Brooks and Ronnie Dunn performed their last RodeoHouston ever; after 19 consecutive years, the duo has decided to part ways and pursue different directions... or so they say. Aftermath wouldn't be surprised to see a reunion tour in less than five years. Then again, maybe that's just wishful thinking. While their split is indefinite, for the time being, this was the band's final show, and the country legends didn't disappoint.
After a short video tribute to the men of the hour, the lights dimmed, the fireworks went off and when the smoke cleared and the stage lights brightened, Brooks & Dunn appeared. The fans were so rowdy; we couldn't make out the announcers' words. Then the instruments started, and the crowd's roar slowly died down; we could hear guitar riffs - "Honky Tonk Stomp" riffs, specifically.
As Dunn's voice, a twangy instrument all its own, reverberated throughout the stadium, we watched the crowd. All their eyes were gripped tightly to the stage, so we decided to watch too. Hoping not to get beer spilled all over ourselves this time, Rocks Off decided to head upstairs. When we arrived, we found B&D performing "Play Something Country"... and someone else in our seats.
We took our dad with us, so we didn't want to cause a scene. Instead we sat down in the closest seats available and settled for a slight sneer at the bandits. Cowboys ain't cowboys without robbers, right?
Three quarters of the way through the song, Brooks pulled out a harmonica and added a lot of funk to an already fun song. Even the three female backup vocalists must have been fans, they looked so happy to be onstage with the pair.
Next up was "Red Dirt Road," to which we bobbed our heads and even sang along (albeit under our breath). Our dad smiled, amused no doubt that the music our sister forced us to listen to as a boy, the music we claimed to despise for years, was entertaining us on this very day.
After discussing their first beers and finding Jesus in the same song - impressive, right? - Brooks took center stage as the lights dimmed to a dark blue as the mood became somber. As if to remind Houston that it was his last tour, he softly began to sing "You're Gonna' Miss Me When I'm Gone."
Brooks' mike wasn't quite the quality of Dunn's (and neither was his voice, for that matter), but with every crack and rasp that didn't match up to the quality of an album, emotion shone through that much more. It felt real.
After another slow song, "Neon Moon," B&D switched it back up on the crowd, speeding up to play "Put a Girl in It." The music video for the single, which played on the screens as the band played, reminded us why we used to want to watch MTV when we were a kid. Pixilated (but still very beautiful and barely legal) women hopped around for four whole minutes, sometimes strumming guitar and almost also in slow motion from great angles. We couldn't help but chuckle to ourselves at the thought of how many husbands must have gotten in trouble during those few minutes.